Friday, December 31, 2010

This one's for ALL of you


For the majority of family men or women who are rapidly approaching retirement, the routine work grind becomes a winding down process: use up sick days, vacation time or personal days--especially around Christmas, when a major New England storm is bearing down on your workplace.

But, like the vast majority of public safety officers, John (Jack) Maguire, age 60, doesn't fit the profile. And as a result he will never again hug his wife, celebrate the major milestones of his three grown children, or regale friends and neighbors at a backyard barbecue.

The 34-year veteran Woburn cop, also like the vast majority of police officers, had never outside of routine practice fired his gun in the line of duty.

The night after Christmas, in the middle of a blizzard, he broke that record--firing it for the first and last time.

The burden for a public servant like officer Maguire is that they serve the general public. To make a mistake using lethal force is unthinkable, thus they think v-e-r-y judiciously...and thinking s-l-o-w-s reaction.

But when dealing with a malevolent misfit who has nothing to lose, that brief pause can be fatal. Such is the thin blue line that protects us all--a line that has now grown even thinner.

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Governor Patrick Duval has ordered by decree the American and state flags in the Commonwealth to half staff often over the past year to honor the passing of public servants from Massachusetts. The men and women range from politicians to police officers and, of course, the military.

And yes, all of the younger ones were
men who died in war--two of them World War II Veterans whose remains were only recently recovered. ##############################################
FINAL ROLL CALL

Cpt. Harold Brown killed in action in Afghanistan
Former Lt Governor and State Senator Sumner Gage Whittier
Former House Clerk Wallace Mills
Former Minority Leader, Francis W. Hatch
Sergeant Robert J. Barrett killed in action in Afghanistan
World War II Veterans Corporal Richard Loring and Staff Sergeant John Farrell
Former House Member Frances Alexander of Beverly
Sergeant Joshua D. Desforges killed in Action in Afghanistan.
Former House Member Ralph E. Sirianni
Former House Member Nancy Caffyn
State Police Sergeant Douglas A. Weddleton who died in the line of duty
State Representative Robert Nyman
Spc. Scott A. Andrews killed in action in Afghanistan
Corporal Paul Fagundes who died in the line of duty
Pfc. Clinton E. Springer II, who died in Afghanistan
Jonathan M. Curtis who was killed in action in Afghanistan
Middlesex County Sheriff James V. DiPaola
First Lieutenant Scott Milley who was killed in action in Afghanistan
Sergeant James A. Ayube, II killed in action in Afghanistan
Pfc. Ethan Goncalo who died in Afghanistan
Officer John Maguire Woburn Police Department killed in the line of duty
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May the road rise to meet you. May the wind be always at your back.May the sun shine warm upon your face.May the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again, May the Lord hold you in the palm of His hand.



9 comments:

Anne Hoffmann said...

Thanks, Larry, for this memorial. You really bring it home.

LarryK4 said...

You're most welcome.

I just wish a few other entities in town took the moment or two required to lower their large public flags down to that position of respect.

Anonymous said...

Larry, they may be ignorant about the flag.

It pains me to think of so many who give so much and receive so little from us.

I watched two young policemen treat a drunk with respect as they helped him to the shelter. We are grateful for our police, fire, and military who put their lives on the line.

Dale said...

Thank You my freind for such nice words. This day in age there doesn't seem to be many people that can convey thier thoughts without using foul language or having complete melt downs. This memorial was inspiring and thought provoking.

My Best,

Dale

Ed said...

I watched two young policemen treat a drunk with respect as they helped him to the shelter.

I have seen the Amherst Police do likewise with individuals with chronic mental illnesses -- there are several publicly known individuals in town whose antics must be truly infuriating to the officers who have to keep dealing with them. And I have seen the APD be likewise professional to individuals not as widely known to those outside the social service industry.

Hence the question I ask is why can't they be likewise professional in dealing with the UMass students? Sure there is a difference between the faceless "them" who change every year and and the person you have seen for years, but why is there no attempt at community outreach to the UM kids?

One college town department elsewhere has a pig roast (get the joke?) at the start of each fall semester with free food for all -- this funded by the local chamber of commerce (that, like Amherst, is competing with the mall in Holyoke).

And what happens is when drunken yahoo student is about to throw a beer bottle at a blue uniform later that year, he realizes that he knows the person wearing it and he won't throw it. This is a known law enforcement concept...

Ed said...

This is meant as a complement to the late Ofc Maguire and I want to be clear on that: reports are that this was a foot chase from the store to where the get-away driver was waiting. This is a significant distance, about from Amherst Town Hall to the Pub and the Triangle Street intersection.

If reports are accurate, responding from the stressful situation of just having prevented a suicide, he gets out of his cruiser and runs this distance, in the snow, and into a 40MPH wind that was almost coming directly at him.

At the time this happened, the snow had let up a little bit but the wind sure hadn't -- this is a respectable athletic feat for anyone to do and for a 60 years old man just about ready to retire -- a damn respectable one.

And on second thought, maybe the WPD didn't have any advanced knowledge of the robbery -- it well may be that the perp didn't realize that all the kids working there now have cell phones (which they didn't have in the early '90s when he did his last robbery) and that "multiple 911 calls" would be going in while the robbery was in progress and not after he left the store.

In other words, that the police would be responding quicker than they used to in the past.

Job well done Officer Maguire - 20 years younger, I couldn't have run that far in the snow and would have been way too winded to have anything regarding accuracy with a handgun.

The Voice said...

While I disagree with your posts on the university this is a solemn and sober reminder of those who sacrifice. Excellent post, hopefully Amherst's officials will remember they freedoms they "defend" are not free.

Anonymous said...

Stop praising PFC Goncalo for being a damn hero. He overdosed on drugs before going on a single combat mission. you cant put him in the same category as real heroes that died in action.

Larry Kelley said...

Take it up with the Governor.